Nutrition Facts – 20 Years and “Evolving”

The FDA has posted an interesting article titled “Nutrition Facts Label: 20 and Evolving.”  The key point of the piece is self-congratulations with regard to the “revolutionary” nature of this requirement, which was finalized in a final rule on Jan. 6, 1993.   The article notes, however, that the Nutrition Facts panel is showing its age:

The agency is planning to update the Nutrition Facts label based on the latest science-based nutrition recommendations.

Paula Trumbo, Ph.D., acting director of FDA’s nutrition programs staff explains that updates are being assessed to address such factors as current nutrient recommendations, public health concerns based on recent data on food consumption, and the agency’s desire to make this information as clear and useful as possible.

The updates are still being formulated. Public input will be sought when they are proposed.

More specifically, expectations are that the FDA will propose rules early this year (followed by a period for public comment) revising serving sizes, daily values, and additional nutrient declarations (possible addition of “refined sugars”).  The big question is whether anything will be done with regard to label complexity and/or label design.   The Facts Up Front campaign has been successful in generating voluntary industry compliance which is the FDA’s preferred approach.  But that campaign likely doesn’t go far enough for many industry watchdogs.  No matter what rules are proposed, expect a great deal of controversy and discussion regarding what is, and is not, proposed.


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